CONVERSATIONS was built from the very things of its title... the
communications that comprise our lives. Urbana, Ohio..s self-proclaimed
underdogs, SMALL TOWN SLEEPER, have been listening to all your
conversations...and they aren't holding back the details.
Troy, Derek, Will and Dann made their debut a well-traveled
album, recording the basic tracks at Electric Lady Studios in NYC with
producer/mixer Ken Lewis (Fallout Boy, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West), then
traveling to London, England to record the vocals. Later they moved on
to Capitol studios in Los Angeles, CA to have strings recorded by
legendary arranger/conductor David Campbell (Goo Goo Dolls/Train/Bon
Jovi). "The entire process of making this record was a bit strange,"
says Troy. "As an artist, you basically spend your entire life trying
to take things to the next level, but the funny thing is that you end
up working so hard that when you get there, it is a total shock. I
mean, you wake up one day and head out to practice in a garage...then
the next week you find yourself at the famed Electric Lady Studios with
artists like Ryan Adams, J-Lo and Gwen Stefani in the next room, or
down the hall."
SMALL TOWN SLEEPER is a true rock/pop band with a background in small
town music staples. Troy was brought up with Country music, "and the
'John's'...Fogerty, Mellencamp, and Bon Jovi," he adds. "When I started
doing my own thing I was really into the 90's rock movement. Looking
back, anything "grunge," as well as Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting
Crows, Better Than Ezra and Third Eye Blind were all big influences on
what I'm doing now." What Troy is doing now is using dialogue in his
songs and creating distinct conversations within them.
"I know, I know, I know I said...You are still angry"
"I know, I know, I know I said,...This really isn't the
time...but how about"
"'Backseat' is the song that really made things happen for us,"
recounts Troy. "This song was a bit different for me because it took so
long to write. Usually, I can put a song together in a couple hours,
but this one took a couple weeks, which for me was a lifetime. I just
remember finishing the song and recording the demo. I sent it out to
our producer who told me that this was 'the song that was gonna send my
kids through college'". "I can only hope that he is right" The track is
a mid-tempo pop song that tells a story of making up after a quarrel in
that old American icon...the backseat of a car.
"I like the part where your lips start to quiver,
you try to talk, but there..s nothing left to say"
Part That Walks Away" was Troy's first co-writing experience.
Nashville-based, Grammy Nominated Producer/Songwriter Rob Graves made
the assist on this track. "Rob and I hit it off immediately. I played
him a bunch of ideas that I had started, but never finished," Brown
said. "He really liked the feel of a song that I had verses written to,
but I could never find a chorus that would do the verses any justice."
Rob concocted a great chorus melody as well as a switch in the
structure from a guitar-based song to a piano-based song. "The Part
That Walks Away" is a song about romantic snapshots in a relationship,
and the struggle of watching it all go away.
"The way you looked in white. The way the silence
swallowed you and I. The way I met your lips. The way I
almost didn't try"
Have Been Waiting" could very well be the "sleeper hit" the band's name
suggests. The song was written around the same time as "Backseat" but
with a distinct vibe. "To me this song has a really modern yet dark
sound that builds into a really anthem type chorus," explains Troy.
"The song itself was written about two very specific moments in my
life, but I feel the chorus is extremely universal."
The members of SMALL TOWN SLEEPER'S ambitions for the long run are to
have a successful and lasting career doing what they love to do. "If we
can support our families and ourselves by doing what we love, then we
feel like we have already succeeded," concludes Troy. Maybe you should
call him "John" though... "I won't lie to you...if we had "Bon Jovi"
type success, I wouldn't be upset..."